Preserving Fine Art, Prints & More
PROTECTING & PRESERVING PRINTS, MAPS, DOCUMENTS AND AUTOGRAPHS
Paper has many enemies light, heat, humidity, air pollution and sometimes itself.
You have just completed the framing of your photograph, print or document, and have it proudly displayed in your home or office. Already, certain chemical reactions have begun to occur which can result in yellowing, brittleness, and overall deterioration. Colors can fade, clarity will decrease, and eventually, the value of the image will diminish.
Never hang an important valuable print, document, or photo in direct sunlight. The ultra-violet rays from the sun will fade all paper items. Fluorescent lighting emits the highest amount of ultra-violet rays of all artificial lights and should never be used when displaying important artwork unless used in connection with commercially available ultra-violet light bulb screens.
Highlighting your artwork with spotlights or picture lights should only be done on a very limited basis unless protected with ultra-violet bulb screens. Plexiglas with ultra-violet ray inhibitors or the new U.V. Inhibitor picture glass will screen out over 95% of the damaging ultra-violet rays. Contrary to popular belief non-glare glass does not protect paper from fading.
While it may seem that your only option is to lock up your collection somewhere, away from the perils of man and nature, it is no longer necessarily to resort to such extremes. Conservation framing techniques and materials available today allow you to exhibit your cherished photos and prints in relative safety.
Always try to hang an important print, map or document on interior walls of home or office. Exterior walls can transmit humidity and moisture into your framed piece. Do not hang an important print, map, document or painting above a fireplace, radiator or heat register. This can dry out your piece and make it brittle. Smoke and chemicals from the fireplace can stain your piece. Never store important or valuable paper items in the attic (too hot), basement (moisture and mold), or in a chest of drawers (wood pulp contains acid that can discolour paper). All these conditions can cause deterioration.
Never dry-mount or glue down a valuable print or paper item. Dry mounting films are permanent and ruin the value of important or valuable pieces. Glues contain chemicals that can discolour or destroy paper. Never mat an important piece of artwork with regular mat board. Only 100% rag acid free mat board should be used. Over a period of time regular mat board will leave a mat burn on your artwork. When attaching a print, map, document, etc. to a backing board, never use synthetic tapes such as masking, scotch, or artist tapes. The glue on these tapes will stain, discolour and eventually destroy the paper. Only use 100% acid free watersoluble museum standard hinging.
A rare, important or valuable piece should never be framed in a way where it comes in direct contact with the glass. Glass can transmit moisture to your piece causing staining. Never trim or cut down an original map, print or document. To any way change the original size of a piece will greatly decrease its value. Never laminate an important or valuable paper item. Lamination is a permanent and non-reversible process and will ruin the value of any piece.